Thursday, January 11, 2007

EIA: Bingaman climate bill would have extremely modest economic impact

An interesting analysis out this morning by the Energy Information Administration.

It examines a preliminary version of climate legislation drafted by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). The Bingaman legislation is still being massaged a little, but this analysis does provide some perspective.

This is fairly complex material. But a couple of quick initial observations:

This analysis ought to undercut the claims of scare-mongering opponents of global warming emission limits. They’ve tried to create the impression that any limits on greenhouse gas emissions would harm the economy. Obviously, that’s nonsense.

The cost of this plan seems extremely modest. The increase in household energy costs could be as little as about $3.50 to $5 a month in the year 2020. In other words, the cost would be a pittance -- something we probably wouldn’t even notice.

The plan would provide incentives to lower energy use and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Coal use would actually increase somewhat, though not as much as it would without these hypothetical limits.

Bingaman, of course, is trying to strike a middle-ground position. Environmentalists will be supporting tougher requirements.

This analysis ought to bolster the position of environmentalists, since it appears we could adopt tougher limits with modest impacts on the economy.

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